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The BCER will be retiring Area-Based Analysis (ABA), a planning tool used to consider the combined effects of industrial development and replace it with new approaches to support the consideration of cumulative effects and treaty rights.

DATE ISSUED: May 15, 2024

EFFECTIVE DATE: Aug. 1, 2024

As part of our ongoing work with First Nations, the British Columbia Energy Regulator (BCER) will be retiring Area-based Analysis (ABA) - a planning tool used to consider the combined effects of industrial development and replace it with new approaches to support the consideration of cumulative effects and treaty rights. All ABA application requirements will be phased out, including the requirement for an ABA Mitigation Plan in enhanced management and regulatory policy areas.

Under the new approach, a mitigation plan is required for any application intersecting a Wildlife Habitat Area (WHA) or Ungulate Winter Range (UWR) or an Old Growth Management Area (OGMA). Effective Aug. 1, 2024, new mitigation plan guidance will ensure a consistent and streamlined approach to submitting measurable and specific commitments.

Applications impacting riparian reserve zones must follow the planning and operational measures of the Environmental Protection and Management Guideline or provide rationale and a mitigation plan. A fish habitat assessment, compiled by a Qualified Professional, remains the same for Changes In and About a Stream for fish-bearing streams.  In addition to more stringent Mitigation Plan requirements, all applications for activities within Treaty 8 Territory must demonstrate consideration and incorporation of the Treaty 8 Planning and Mitigation Measures.

Applications within Blueberry River First Nations Claim Area must follow the requirements laid out in the Blueberry River First Nations Implementation Agreement Form, which include the RSEA Moose Core Effective Suitable Habitat and RSEA Old Forest Assessment datasets. The BCER is working to integrate the provincial Cumulative Effects Framework (CEF) information in decision-making where appropriate, including components of the grizzly bear and aquatics current condition assessments. Applicants are encouraged to review this information and where possible, reflect upon it within their application for how it may or may not influence project planning, design and/or mitigations.

The BCER will continue to compile landscape level disturbance information for WHAs, UWRs and OGMAs in northeast B.C. Landscape level disturbance continues to be a consideration in the determination of material adverse effect to a WHA and UWR and an assessment of the Managed Disturbance Allowance for OGMAs. The BCER continues to make this information available spatially and through the BCER NE BC Annual Status Reports.

Helpful Resources:

Additional information regarding recent changes following the B.C. Supreme Court ruling in Yahey v. British Columbia (Yahey) can be found here:

Information about RSEA and CEF data can be found on our website.


If you have any questions regarding this Technical Update, please contact:

Michael Shepard

Operational Transition Lead

BC Energy Regulator

Michael.Shepard@bc-er.ca

250-661-4820

Jacqueline Howard

Environmental Specialist

BC Energy Regulator

Jacqueline.Howard@bc-er.ca

250-419-4496

Jennifer Grant (after May 27, 2024)

Director, Cumulative Effects Implementation

BC Energy Regulator

Jennifer.Grant@bc-er.ca

250-419-6606

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